What is your business’s most important commodity? Is it your product? Is it your customers? Or is it something you can’t even physically touch? Some would say that your brand is perhaps your most important commodity, but anyone who has been in business for some time will give you the exact same answer to this question in various different forms: it’s your data.
Data is the lifeblood of your company. You analyze it to learn more about your customers and target them with specialized advertisements, you store sensitive data such as your customer’s preferences and their interests, and data is ultimately used to fuel any kind of projections or forecasts that your financial department makes. Without data, you’re essentially running your business on guesswork and assumptions, not hard facts.
Analyzing sets of data and learning about your customers is the key to business growth and sustainability, which is why it’s so important to protect your data from prying eyes and hackers. But in order to protect your data, you’re going to need a few specialist employees, outsourcing and a lot of dedication. So to help make the task a little easier, here are some important considerations to keep in mind.
Securing your data center
Where do you store your data? Most people give an innocent answer such as “on a hard drive” or “on a computer”, but the proper answer should be “in a data center”. A data center is exactly what the name suggests; a huge complex with lots of noisy computers that is built specifically for the purpose of saving data. There are many types of data center infrastructure solutions, but the most common ones are simply large server rooms that house computers that keep your data. They’re protected with complicated environmental controls that regulate the climate and air quality as well as state of the art network security features.
Storing only what you need
Something that very few people realize is that you only need to store a certain amount of information about your customers and their habits. You don’t need to store every single thing. Not only does this increase the amount of storage space required (thus resulting in higher maintenance costs), but it also increases the risk of you losing information that could, in some way, reveal more personal information. Make sure you brainstorm and analyze all the information that your business is saving and cut out anything that’s unnecessary to the operation of your business or your needs. This is actually outlined in the data protection act as a mandatory requirement, so be sure to follow it closely.
Teaching your staff the proper practices
If you’re going to give your staff the task of handling your essential business data, then you need to teach them how to properly use the systems involved. A slight mistake could result in your staff deleting your data by accident or even releasing it to the public through an error. Teach them the basics of keeping the data secure and not revealing any kind of passwords or authentication steps to anyone. Make sure your staff constantly keeps your systems up to date to prevent any kind of security breach from happening and practice better security habits.
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